In the State of California, a sex crime can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. To be accused of a sex crime in this State, you could have forcibly raped someone or just grabbed another’s private parts on their body in public. These are some of the sex crimes that are most common in Californa:

Date Rape

The term ‘date rape’ is used to describe non-consensual sexual intercourse, which has taken place between two people who were either dating or were voluntarily spending time with each other. Date rape may sound like a casual form of the California rape charge; however, these two charges are, in fact, the same. Both types of rape are prosecuted and punished under California Penal Code 261 listed as ‘California Rape Law.’

A woman can accuse her romantic partner or boyfriend of date rape falsely. There have been cases when this allegation was made out of anger or as a means of revenge if the woman felt her male partner was not faithful. Feeling neglected or rejected is a common reason a woman has made a false allegation of date rape to the police.

If you have been accused of this crime, you should consult with the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley. Do not engage with your partner until you have received legal advice as it could make your case more difficult. If you think this accusation is in the process, be aware of secretly-coded texts or phone calls from your partner that the police may have convinced her to make in an attempt to trap you into saying something incriminating. Talk to our office before you have any further contact to protect yourself and your rights.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is considered a sex crime under California Penal Code 314. To have committed indecent exposure, you would have had to willfully expose your genitals to another person. This action would have been to gratify yourself sexually or to offend the other person.

The indecent exposure law in California is vague and broad and can include behavior you may not have thought of as criminal. If you have been charged with indecent exposure, you may be feeling your rights have been violated, and what might further surprise you is knowing the California indecent exposure statute has remained the same since 1872. This law has been on the ‘books’  for a long time.

Some examples of what can find you charged with indecent exposure include:

  • A male standing on the corner of a street ‘flashing’ his genitals to females as they pass by him. This action is giving the male sexual gratification.
  • A female shows her breasts to a crowd in the restaurant to sexually gratify her partner.
  • A teenager exposes his genitals to an older woman as she leaves the church with the intent to offend her.

Indecent exposure may not sound like a serious charge, but the consequences can be devastating. The first conviction of indecent exposure is typically charged as a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. A second offense can be charged as a felony and a possible prison sentence.

Contact the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley if you are charged with indecent exposure. This charge is serious, and you will want experienced legal counsel to help you through this difficult time.

Lewd Conduct in a Public Place

Lewd conduct performed in a public area is a sex crime under California Penal Code 647a. This code describes lewd conduct as touching your private areas, or someone else’s private parts for the purpose of sexual arousal or as an attempt to annoy or offend another person. Private parts refer to a female’s breasts, buttocks, or genitals.

By itself, sexual activity, even when done in a public place, is not considered a sex crime. It rises to the level of a crime or ‘lewd conduct’ when you knowingly conduct the sexual activity when someone is present, and you know they will be watching and be offended by your conduct.

A conviction for performing lewd conduct in a public place is a misdemeanor, and you could face a sentence of up to six months in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000. These charges can be reduced with the right legal representation. Many times the charges can be resolved with little or no jail time. You want to contact the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley as soon as charges have been filed to ensure you receive proper representation.

At this time, California does not require a person to register as a sex offender. Still, this charge is often charged together with indecent exposure by the prosecution, and this charge does require a lifetime sex offender registration.

Lewd Acts with a Minor

Lewd acts with a minor is a sex crime and is covered under Penal Code 288 California law. It is defined as any person who lewdly and willfully commits a lascivious or lewd act with a child under the age of 14. This act is a sex crime when it is done on or with the body of a child with the intent of appealing, arousing, or gratifying their lust, sexual desires, or passions of that person. This crime is a felony and is punishable by imprisonment of three to eight years.

The term ‘lewd’ is defined as touching a child for sexual purposes or forcing the child to touch themselves for another’s sexual purpose. The prosecution will accuse of touching or fondling a child on a sexual organ, or that an overt act of child molestation took place. A defendant can also be charged with lewd act with a minor if the touch was not on a sexual organ, or even if the touch was done over the child’s clothes, or if the child was the one performing the touch. Whenever it is thought or proven, the defendants ‘intent’ was to arouse themselves or another person, the touching becomes a crime even if arousal was not achieved.

Penalties if convicted of this charge depends on a number of factors:

  • How old the child is
  • Whether or not the lewd act was accomplished by duress, violence, threats, or force
  • Whether or not the defendant has a pattern of lewd acts

A conviction of these charges will also require lifetime registration as a California sex offender. This charge is serious, and if convicted, it will be as a felony under both the California ‘One Strike Law and Three Strikes Law. Under the One Strike Law, anyone convicted of personally inflicting bodily harm on a victim must be sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison. Under the Three Strike Law, a defendant with a prior strike conviction will face an enhanced sentence.

You need legal representation when facing these serious charges. Other consequences you could face if convicted include loss of professional license, loss of the right to own a firearm, and possible deportation.

There are several legal defense strategies against these charges, including:

  • Contact was accidental
  • The contact happened, but without the intent to cause sexual arousal
  • The child is blaming the wrong person
  • The child or accuser is mistaken or lying

Talk to your attorney at the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley to discuss your legal options when facing these very serious charges.

Child Pornography

Penal Codes 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, 311.11 under California Law are all in regard and definition of child pornography crimes. These laws make it a sex crime to:

  • Share videos with an internet group of naked teenage girls
  • Advertise on the internet that you have child pornography for sale
  • Hire a minor to perform gay video or take pictures of minor to advertise gay porn

Many of the child pornography charges in California are wobblers or felonies. If convicted as a misdemeanor, sentencing is typically one year in jail. If convicted as a felony, you would face up to three years in prison.

Facing a charge of child pornography is a serious offense with long-term consequences. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley working on your defense to protect your future. Some of the common arguments against these charges include:

  • You did not possess child pornography
  • You did not knowingly have child pornography
  • Your actions are connected to a legitimate purpose
  • The evidence against you was collected after an unlawful search and seizure
  • You were charged after an entrapment

Child Sexual Abuse

California Law considers child sexual abuse a sex crime and is defined under Penal Code 288.5. A person is guilty of this crime if the act was performed with a child under the age of 14 who lives with them, or if over three months, they committed three or more substantial acts of sexual abuse on a child under the age of 14.

The term substantial means there was oral copulation with a minor, penetration of the child to either the rectum or vagina by penis or another foreign object, masturbation of the child, or the perpetrator. Oral copulation is separately defined as any contact between a person’s mouth, and another’s vagina, anus, or sanctum.

Child sexual abuse is taken very seriously by the California courts, and penalties and consequences for this charge will have life-time effects. You will need the expertise of a criminal defense attorney from the Law Firm of Fountain and Hattersley to help you through this challenging legal battle.

If convicted of child abuse under California law, it is a felony, and you could be sentenced from six to twelve years in prison. This crime also falls under the California Three Strike law, and if convicted, you will be required to register as a tier three sex offender for life.

A defense against a charge of ‘continuous sexual abuse with a minor’ depends on the circumstances of your case. Typical defense strategies include:

  • The child has made the story up or has been mistaken
  • You were not the person who molested the child
  • Parents of the child coached their child to accuse you
  • The incident was misinterpreted, and there was no sexual act

Talk with your attorney if someone has made an accusation against you in regard to child sexual abuse. You will want representation immediately to defend yourself against this serious charge properly.

Oral Copulation by Force

Under California sex crimes, it is illegal to force or use fear on another to have them perform oral copulation. This crime involves non-consensual contact between one person’s mouth and another’s genitals or anus. It becomes a sex crime if the act results from duress, fear, threat, force, or violence. It is a sex crime if one party is unconscious, intoxicated, or otherwise legally unable to consent.

Oral copulation by force is a sex crime and defined under California Penal Code 288a. A conviction for this charge is a felony, and you could face from three to eight years in prison with a possible fine of up to $10,000. If the victim of this crime is a minor 14 years or older, the penalty increases to six to ten years in prison if the victim is under the age of 14, you face from eight to twelve years in prison. A conviction of this crime requires registration as a tier three sex offender for life.

A charge of oral copulation by force is going to need a strong defense. You will want the help of the Law Firm of Fountain and Hattersley to put forth an aggressive defense to protect your rights and future. Some of the defense strategies on these charges include:

  • You have been falsely accused
  • There has been a case of mistaken identity
  • The accuser is not a victim but consented to the act
  • The evidence against you was obtained through illegal search and seizure
  • There is not enough evidence to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

If you are listed on the sex offender registry, you are required by law to register every five years within five working days of your birthday, and every time you change addresses. Failure to do this falls under California law as a sex crime, Penal Code 290.

A person becomes a sex offender if they are convicted of a sex crime such as a sexual battery, indecent exposure, or rape and must register with the chief of police of the city where they live.

If charged and convicted of failing to register, it can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. If convicted as a misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in jail; if convicted as a felony, you could be sentenced up to three years in prison.

Some of the defense strategies on this charge include:

  • You did not willfully fail to register
  • You registered, but the authorities lost the registration
  • You were not advised you had to register


Prostitution is a sex crime in California under Penal Code 647b and is charged as a misdemeanor for anyone 18 years or older. Prostitution is defined as paying or accepting money or other considerations in exchange for sex. It is also illegal to engage or offer to engage in the act of prostitution, or to agree to the act.

Under Penal Code 647b, it is a sex crime when a customer and a prostitute engage in the act of sexual intercourse or perform lewd acts. The law makes it an illegal act for both the customer, or John, and the prostitute. If a prostitute is working under a ‘pimp,’ they would be charged under Penal Code 266h (pimping and pandering law), or Penal Code 653.23 (supervising or aiding a prostitute).

Penalties for a first-time offense of prostitution generally involves a six-month sentence in the county jail with a possible fine of up to $1,000. A second offense involves a mandatory sentence of forty-five days in jail, and a third or subsequent offense receives a minimum ninety-day jail sentence.

There could be additional penalties attached to a conviction if the prostitute and her John were in a vehicle at the time of the crime, or the act was performed within 1,000 feet of a residence. Penalties for these instances include losing a driver’s license for up to thirty days, or a restriction of driving privileges for up to six months.

You are not required to register as a sex offender for this crime. Still, the judge has the discretion to order a defendant to register whenever they feel the crime was a result of sexual compulsion or was performed for sexual gratification. Contact your attorney at the Law Firm of Fountain and Hattersley to ensure your charges are not enhanced or to possibly have them reduced or dismissed.

Legal defenses against a prostitution charge include the police used entrapment; there is not enough trustworthy evidence or insufficient evidence to prove the charge, or that you were not engaged in prostitution.


Under California Penal Code 261, rape is a sex crime. It is defined as a non-consensual act of sexual intercourse through force, threats, or if a victim is unconscious and incapable of consenting. When a person thinks of rape, they generally think of it as a crime committed by physical force, but other situations can be charged as rape:

  • IIf sexual intercourse is performed on a woman when she is unconscious due to intoxication
  • A doctor tricks a woman into having sexual intercourse or performs a sexual act by telling her it’s a cure for a particular illness
  • A police officer pulls over a woman and won’t let her go without charges unless she has sex with him

Under the umbrella of rape as a sex crime in California, these sexual assaults are included:

  • Penal Code 262- Spousal rape
  • Spousal rape or marital rape falls under the California umbrella of rape laws. It is also listed under California domestic violence laws. Spousal rape occurs if a husband uses physical force to make his wife have sexual intercourse, a wife who is married to someone, not a citizen threatens to divorce him if he does not have sex with her, or a husband commits non-consensual sex with his wife who is not conscious.
  • Penal Code 261- (Date rape)
  • Penal Code 261.5-(Statutory rape)
  • Statutory rape is when a person engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 18. This charge is often called ‘unlawful sex with a minor.’
  • Penal Code 266c- (Oral copulation by force)
  • Penal Code 289-(Forcible penetration with a foreign object)
  • Forcible penetration with a foreign object or sexual penetration by fear or force is a sex crime in California. This crime is defined as committing sexual penetration with another where the penetration was done using a foreign object or without the person’s consent. This crime is committed through the use of violence, menace, fear, duress, or the threat of bodily injury.

If convicted of rape in California, you are facing severe punishments. You will want a legal defense that understands the court systems and laws of the State to help defend you against these life-altering charges. Contact a criminal defense attorney at the Law Firm of Fountain and Hattersley to discuss your legal options. A defense against rape charges include:

  • The allegations are false
  • You had a reasonable and honest belief that the victim consented to the act
  • There was no sexual intercourse
  • There is not sufficient evidence to support a rape occurred
  • You are the victim of mistaken identity

It is crucial to your future to receive proper defense against these charges as a victim of rape has the ability to also sue under the Personal Injury Laws of California. They can sue for compensation of medical bills, last wages, lost earning capacity, psychological counseling, pain, and suffering, as well as punitive damages. Without a proper defense, you are facing lifetime consequences with a conviction along with possible jail or prison time.

Soliciting a Prostitute

Under California law, there are two forms of prostitution. One form is the engagement of sexual acts for compensation, and the other is soliciting prostitution. Solicitation occurs when you offer another form of compensation to perform a sexual act, or someone agrees to accept compensation in exchange for a sexual act.

An excellent criminal defense attorney at the Law Firm of Fountain and Hattersley can often find a weakness in the prosecution's case for these charges, so you receive a more favorable outcome to prostitution charges.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges of a sex crime in California, you are facing life-altering consequences. Call the Law Offices of Fountain and Hattersley at 626-793-4111 today to receive exceptional legal counsel and help build your defense to these charges. We understand how misunderstandings or simple mistakes can get out of control and are here for you to see that your future is protected.